Nikki Finke, once heralded as the industry's most powerful muckity-muck and "Hollywood's reigning queen of entertainment news," may be leaving the site that is synonymous with her outsize personality come next month.
A rumor circulated this afternoon that Finke had given her staff final word that she intended to leave her site Deadline.com—now owned by racing scion Jay Penske—next month. When we asked about them, Finke offered only the following statement for the record:
I won't confirm or deny it. I can't talk about my contract.
The reasons for her departure are rumored to be about clashes she's had with Penske, owner of Penske Media, which bought Deadline back in 2009, over resources for the site and various purported broken promises from Penske. After a highly profiled June dust up with United Talent Agency over a scoop that went to The Hollywood Reporter rather than Deadline, both Nikki and Deadline reporter Mike Fleming Jr. got into it over e-mail with UTA's flack Chris Day, as well as a handful of UTA partners. The Wrap reported that said emails were the last straw for Penske, who had grown tired of Finke's browbeating, and he fired her.
Finke denied the allegations and posted the alleged emails in their entirety to clear her name — though she quickly edited herself by deleting the less savory portions of the email chain. Gawker has posted the originals in their entirety.
Finke has been in protracted negotiations with Penske—who has been devoting more time of late to his latest purchase, Deadline competitor Variety— over her future at the company, and rumors of her departure have flowered before. We wouldn't put it past her to float them as a negotiating tactic.
Deadline staffers Mike Fleming and Dominic Patten declined to comment.
We've reached out to Penske for comment and have yet to hear back.
UPDATE: We received this pleasant comment from Penske's PR mouthpiece at PMC: "As usual, Gawker can write an entire article about PMC without facts. Thanks for your continued great coverage of our properties."